The Double Life of Elle

The Secret Confessions of an Extra Lusty Broad in a Stick Figure World.

My Big Fat Life Story January 26, 2009

Filed under: family matters — thedoublelifeofelle @ 11:54 am
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I have been fat my whole life.  Perhaps there were a few brief periods in middle school and high school where I could have passed for “slightly overweight,” but those moments were fleeting, and went quietly by, under-appreciated by yours truly.   As a young child, I was unaware of my weight problem.  Those years were the best.  I can still kind of remember what it was like not obsessing about my weight or constantly comparing my body with the bodies of my peers.  Those blissfully ignorant years came to a screeching hault one day when I was prancing around my house in my bathing suit, preparing for a day of swimming in the neighbor’s pool.

“I see you’re bringing your inner-tube with you to the pool,” my father said.

“Huh?” I tilted my head, baffled.

“Your inner-tube,” my father made some sort of sign language to indicate the lower abdomen. 

“Oh.” I looked down at myself and for the first time I saw the baby fat my dad was referring to. 

And that wasn’t the last time Dad felt the need to make me painfully aware of my extra padding.  By the time I was in the second grade, I was horribly self-conscious of my weight.  I didn’t want to wear shorts because I thought my thighs were too monstrous.  One day in my second grade class, every student had to be weighed by the teacher.  I’m honestly not sure why…probably for some sort of public school statistic thing.  My teacher was extraordinarily nice and didn’t make me feel ashamed at all when I weighed in at a hefty 90lbs.  I cried all the way home from school that day. 

After that day, my father would sometimes tease me when we were in the car going to school.

“You know, everyone has to get weighed at school today.”  My dad would say as he peaked at me sitting in the passenger seat while he was driving.

“No!  Daddy, I don’t want to go to school today!”  I would instantly burst into tears and demand he turn the car around.  Only when I was almost utterly hysterical would he admit that he was only “joking.” 

My father never let up on me about my weight.  And somehow my mother never managed to tell him to shut the fuck up and stop teasing their young impressionable daughter.  Don’t get me wrong…I love both my parents dearly, but they totally dropped the ball on that whole “help your daughter develop good self-esteem” thing.  During my hormonally-raging, angsty teenage days, my father would frequently tell me that I had an “inferiority complex” when I was being vocally down on myself.  Gee, I wonder why.  During this time I was prescribed anti-depressants.  They made me feel like the walking dead, and I decided that my depression felt better than numbness and stopped taking the pills a few months later.

I met the man that I would later marry when I was 15 years old and he was 19.  We dated (very chastely!) throughout my high school years, and as soon as I graduated high school, I moved to the city where he lived.  After a year of living together, things started to fall apart.  Honestly, I think we were just too young and dumb and unprepared for the kind of struggles we would face.  I was depressed and self-medicated with food.   My weight was out of control.  When I graduated high school, I weighed about 220 lbs.  Pretty chubby, but I was active and healthy.  By the end of that first year, I weighed 270 lbs.  Sexy Boyfriend and I went “on a break,” and I moved back in with my parents. 

I hadn’t really noticed my 50-pound weight gain until my parents bought  me clothes for my birthday.  Every frumpy blouse, every gawd-awful dress, every single item of clothing they bought for me was about two sizes too big!  This made me realize that my parents, who had barely seen me over the past year, had noticed that I gained a lot of weight and assumed that I had gained a lot of clothing sizes too.  Which wasn’t true.  When I graduated high school, I wore around a size 14/16 to around an 18/20.  After gaining 50lbs I wore an 18/20 and occassionally a 22/24.  The clothes I received from my parents all had 4XL tags on them. 

I can just see my parents in the clothing store trying to decide what size to get for their puffed-up daughter.

“Well, she was an XL when she graduated last year.  And she must have put on at least a hundred pounds…” I can hear my mother musing out loud.

I see my father picking up the biggest, most circus tent-like garment he can find, pulling it taut at the waist, and nodding his head, “Yeah, she’s about this big now.”

As sad as it is, I think my mother was secretly happy about my weight gain, because it meant that my father wouldn’t be  making as many remarks about her weight anymore.  (Oh, yeah, have I mentioned that  both my parents are really overweight?)

After the clothes incident, I decided to lose some poundage.  I cut out soda from my diet, and I started jogging.  Yeah, that’s right, my fat ass got out there and started jogging.  I lost about 40 lbs.  I was going to college, working, dating and doing a little growing up.  But…there was something missing.

A couple of years later, Sexy Boyfriend and I started talking again.  We hashed out all of our old problems:  I was too needy.  He was too emotionally distant.  We made fresh promises to each other and decided to try again.  And it’s worked.  It probably didn’t hurt that by this time he was counseling psychologically screwed up adolescents.  And let’s face it folks, that’s what I was (am?).

Sexy Boyfriend became Sexy Husband in 2006 and we have been loving every minute of marriage.  I have gained 30 lbs since I got married and 70 lbs since SH and I got back together.  I’m (obviously) not one of those people that loses weight when she’s sad or loses weight when she’s happy.  When I’m sad, I eat.  When I’m happy, I eat.  When I’m any kind of emotion, I acknowledge it with food.

Re-reading this post, it seems like my parents are terrible.  They aren’t.  I think just about everybody’s folks messed up in some way…like a son who’s pushed too hard to succeed at sports or a daughter who gets punished if she doesn’t bring home straight A+’s.  I had it out with both my parents (individually) not that long ago, but that’s a story for another day.

So if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading.  I hope everyone had a great weekend and good luck with this week’s challenges!

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the family that weighs together…ends up at each other’s throats January 19, 2009

I haven’t really told anybody in my “real life” that I’m “on a diet,”  for several reasons.  Mostly because (I hate to admit this, but afterall these are my secret confessions) I am afraid of failing.  Let’s face it, I have been down the dieting path before with other people witnessing me lose a few pounds then gorge myself into oblivion come Easter.  While this time I have a different kind of determination, I am not yet ready to explain myself to my family, friends, and co-workers.  Plus I don’t want them feeling obligated to comment on any lost lbs or if my clothes are fitting loosely.  When I do start losing weight, I want people to notice on their own.  That would be much more motivating than if they were all examining me under a microscope everyday. 

I have managed to tell a few people, including my sister-in-law.  We are about as close as real sisters.  She and I made a run to the market on Saturday and she surprised me by saying that she, too, had signed up for Weight Watchers Online.  SIL isn’t nearly as overweight as I am, but she has a few pounds to lose.  I told her that I was cutting down on all that prepackaged, processed, sugar-filled junk food that was staring us in the face at the supermarket.  Her approach consists more of frozen ready-meals, 100 calorie packs, Lunchables, and prepackaged pudding–so pretty much the opposite of my “diet.”  I try not to judge, but I can’t help it.  I definitely don’t say too much, because I’m a good 100 lbs heavier than her and what right do I have telling her how to eat.  Hopefully though, my healthy food choices will pay off and maybe influence her to make better decisions.

The first time I joined WW (the actual meetings), I joined with SIL.  I thought it would be great to have someone to go with, someone to share support with.  Wroooonnng!  The first week I spent counting points like a Nazi, eating loads of fruits and vegetables, etc.  SIL spent it eating things out of a box.  That first weigh-in she lost more than 10 lbs.  I lost 3.5.  I was absolutely devastated.  I couldn’t even be happy about my own loss.  I was pissed and wondering why I bothered to buy healthy, wholesome ingredients and painstakingly measured and prepared everything, when apparently the easiest way to lose weight was to let Lean Cuisine cook all your meals for you.  That weigh-in pretty much did me in, and after about 8 weeks of paying 13 bucks a pop to stand in line, get weighed, and listen to other people gripe about food I stopped going.  SIL and I stopped going together after 2 or 3 weeks, because her consistently high weight loss numbers and my paltry 1, 2, or even 0 lbs every week wasn’t very motivating.  Her smug attitude and her little hints that “some people just don’t work as hard as others and it shows on the scale” didn’t help things either.  I hated myself for not losing.  I hated myself for being so jealous that she was.  And I really hated the fact that my choice to eat so healthy didn’t pay off immediately.  It’s not that I didn’t want her to achieve her weight loss goals, because I did want her to find success.  I just wanted her to achieve them my way.  I’m a Leo, what can I say. ;)   

Now that my focus is not only losing poundage, but living a healthier lifestyle, low weigh-in numbers aren’t going to discourage me as much as they did the last time.  Slow and steady is the best way to lose, and if I would have stuck with the WW plan the first time, all of those 1-2 lb /week losses would have already put me at my goal weight by now.  Even though I have this mature new focus, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be exchanging stats with SIL.  I don’t want to risk sounding judgmental and bossy.  I think the best way for us to support each other in our endeavors is to just maintain our close relationship.  We hang out all the time and gab about everything from the inconsequential to the seriously emotional.  As much fun as we have together, it’s taken us a while to figure out that delicate balance between just enough time spent together and way too much.  And I think “dieting together” would totally cross that line, as it did last time around.   Although, she has asked if we could cook dinner together once or twice a week.  I have no problem with that, but I’m pretty sure she won’t be interested in anything I cook, and I definitely don’t want to eat a box of reduced fat Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Powder.  Perhaps I can think of this opportunity as a challenge to find a recipe that she’ll eat without picking out half the ingredients.         

Interestingly enough, my mother-in-law seems to be having the same reaction she did the last time SIL and I joined WW.  I happen to work with my MIL ( a thing I do not suggest doing), and the other day at work she had a giant package of peanut butter cups she was eating one by one.  One of our co-workers was going to lunch and asked if either of us wanted something.  I declined saying that I had brought my own lunch from home.  After our co-worker left, MIL asked if I wanted a peanut butter cup (she totally did this because I NEVER bring my lunch and she knew that since I had, I was on a diet.  this is not me being paranoid, this is how MIL operates…TRUST ME!).

“No, thanks,” I said not worrying about her agenda.

“Are you dieting, Elle?”  she asked already knowing the answer. 

“I’m cutting out junk food.”  

“Well, good for you.” 

She then left her open package of peanut butter cups at my desk–ALL DAY–and stopped by every hour or so to eat one!   She also went to McDonald’s and got a Quarter-Pounder meal, and ate it in front of me.  Hello?!  Sabotage, much??  I was good though.  I ate my meal from home and barely looked at the PB cups.  But I could still smell those fries.  Mmmmm.

She did the same thing last time.  MIL loves junk food, but I’ve never seen her eat so much as when someone in the family is dieting.  SIL asked her to join WW with us when we first joined back in 2006 and MIL got pretty angry.  I’m not sure if she feels like she’ll be left behind in Fatland if we succeed,  if she’s just angry at herself for not doing something about her excess weight, or maybe she just feels ganged up on. 

Of course, Sexy Husband knows about my diet.  He’s tall and good-looking and thin and has never once made me feel bad about my size.  Not one stray remark, not one “are you sure you should eat that?”, not one single word about my double-digit dress size.   He is unbelievably supportive in everything I do and has been a great cheerleader so far.  He is in the “adolescent psychology” field and knows a thing or two about low self-esteem.   I have to admit, sometimes I think he’s too good to be true.  I’m afraid that one of these days, he’ll wake up next to me and realize that he can do so much better.  Hot, skinny girls flirt with him all the time.  They see me and all my bulk and can’t possibly imagine I’m with him.  They just assume I’m some kind of lesbian comrade.  Either my husband is really good at checking out girls on the sly, or he just doesn’t do it, because I’ve never caught him eyeing anyone but me.

So right now, my support system includes SH (sexy husband), myself, this little ol’ blog, and in a vague sense, SIL.  I’m hoping that as time passes, I can widen that circle and not feel the need to keep SIL at arm’s length. I’m also hoping that MIL will stop trying to derail my efforts and be inspired by SIL’s and my progress instead of being upset and offended.